Rafting in the Ganga in Rishikesh

Start of my accessible travel journey, many more to come

This piece takes you through the ripples that were created when Bhupendra started his accessible travel journey with Planet Abled. 

I  was a  successful IT Analyst in TCS for quite some time after my Engineering in IT and Executive MBA when life was shaken almost without much warning. I  became completely blind in both eyes four years back while fighting last-stage cancer and severe paralysis. I am proud to have emerged victorious ultimately after 13 months of sheer will-power and mental stamina. But it took me few months to come to terms with my new blindness.

Leveraging on the world of technology, I felt a  renewed power to go out in the world. Using screen reader software in my laptop and mobile phone, I  plunged into preparations for competitive exams. In my first attempt itself, I could crack SBI Clerk, Bank of Baroda Probationary Officer, RBI Assistant, IBPS Clerk, RBI Manager and UPSC Prelims. As I chose to join RBI, I felt it was my new birth!

I always loved travelling but in my new life, was often admonished by friends to avoid travelling without family members around. Sermons used to be given to drop my desires of venturing out to any popular place even locally if it was crowded.

As a part of my 3.5 months grueling induction training as a direct recruit RBI Manager in Chennai, we were taken to many Outbound Trips (OBTs). In the long hours of bus journeys, I  realized that for me what matters the most is not the outer beauty of surroundings but rather the inner beauty of my journey mates.

When I came across the email from Planet Abled regarding an accessible adventure trip to Rishikesh in November 2016, my heart leaped with joy. I took it as an opportunity to travel long distance with complete strangers, without the comfort zone of parents and siblings. All my concerns put on one side of the balance could not outweigh the lurking passion for adventure within me! And that is how I went out to play this game where Ganga Maiya was calling me again after a gap of 7  years.

Talking to Neha allayed my nerves to a large extent. She came across to me as very bindaas girl yet very sensitive/caring. She agreed to my request for assigning a  male “travel buddy” who helped me in unpacking/packing my luggage in the hotel as well as assisting me in myriad chores.

Rafting in the roaring Ganga was a  phenomenal experience for me. I had done rafting with my parents in Teesta river, Sikkim (earlier when I was sighted). But this was even better! The guide  asked if any of us want to jump into the placid portions and pat my hands were raised. Splash and I was in the mighty Ganga Maiya, floating on the surface completely surrendered to the moment! Even before I did that I did one mini stunt, bending backwards, I allowed my helmet to dip into the mystic waters. And as the waves creeped in and drenched my long hair, I was feeling heavenly in that inverted position!!

Bhupendra floating in the Ganga

Bhupendra floating in the Ganga

Ziplining is something which was so amazing! While others could see the demonstration by experts, my training was made accessible by detailed verbal descriptions and Q&A. As my turn came, I was the least scared in my group since I was blissfully oblivious of the height of the cliff ! My heart raced a little faster when the coach told that your next step is the last on the cliff and after that there is all air! Well trained, I went out and came back with an aplomb!

The Ganga Aarti is an experience that is so spiritual. Time stands still when the chanting of the veda boys on the sacred banks of Ganga maiya soaks the spirit and uplifts the prana. The yoga session in the morning was fascinating too, as I did the “Sheersh Aasan” or the head-stand, first time in my life with assistance of the instructor! Late evening bonfires in the resort were time to unwind, relax and chill out making new friends in the group!

In our resort, I made a clandestine deal with a local guy for early morning treks. Our resort was nestled in the middle of a hill. So, along with the local expert and my travel-buddy, the threesome went out twice on early dawn treks – once upslope, crossing thick creepers and bushes  all the way to the peak and the other day, downslope right upto the rocky banks of Ganga Maiya!! I was privileged to get the pre-sunrise Kartik snan in Ganga Maiya as I was carrying a  lota. Since the currents were strong, the duo made me perch on a rock and did the abhishekam on me!

My road trip back to Delhi became memorable as my travel buddy, Satyendra, who by now had become my sweet younger brother, came till the airport to drop me!

All-in-all, I  thank the entire team for giving me a Mega Experience in my new life !

With this confidence rekindled, I just completed Ladakh trip attending a four-day “Art of Living” meditation camp followed by 2 days of excursion to Pengong Lake, Khardungla Pass etc.

Kudos to Planet Abled, I  could  inspire my group to indulge in Zanskar river rafting. It was unfortunate that to do rafting it took me a couple of hours to convince the service provider, making me realize the effort Planet Abled might have put in to make rafting accessible for all, even for travellers on wheelchairs. I now aspire to set my footprints on the abode of Shiva, Mount Kailash and take parikrama of Lake Mansarovar!!

Bhupendra Tripathi is a manager in RBI and believes in living life to the fullest. We really admire his amicable spirit and friendly nature. He is based out of Ahmadabad.

I want my freedom to travel

My freedom to travel this independence day – Ashwin Karthik

70 years of freedom and independence, today we are the youngest country in the world. We are supposedly the fastest growing economy today. Since 1947 we as a nation have grown in leaps and bounce. The world is looking at us for the future. There is no field in which we are not making our presence felt.

But there is one section of people which has received the least attention from the society, government and even nuclear families. To an extent that this section hasn’t even had a proper count or census.

The section I am talking about is of the people with disabilities. Years ago when I made my first trip up north to the Himalayas, which was my first major tour. Back in the 90’s inclusion was a hardly heard term and accessibility was unheard of. My father and brother had their hands full in carrying me in the mountains.

Over the years things have changed for the better regarding education and employability for the differently abled. But when it comes to travel, things have hardly changed.

If you go by a famous kannada saying “knowledge can be gained but experience can only come when one travels. But in a country like ours where awareness is being created only in recent years, how can one expect the differently abled to find ease in travelling.


The ever smiling Ashwin Karthik on one of his brief sojourns

The ever smiling Ashwin Karthik on one of his travelsThis is true to such an extent that even a short travel in the city to a shopping mall gets taxing most times. This is not only because the building isn’t accessible or wheelchairs aren’t available. But also because people are increasingly growing insensitive! For example though there are reserved parking for vehicles of people with disabilities. There are others who so ignorantly or arrogantly take those parking places.

Another instance where I saw insensitivity in people was when we travelled to Trimbakeshar temple in Nasik. The iconic temple is a historic structure and hasn’t been re-built to make it accessible due to religious sentiments. People advised my family to get me a sight of the lord in the temple if they wished my disability to be cured.

They did not realize that their comments would push the limits of my family and put their mental and physical strengths to get me sight of the lord.

It is even sadder for adventure lovers like me who cannot perform adventures like bungy jumping, river rafting, sky diving in the existing environments in India.

Fortunately teams like Planet Abled have initiated planned tours and adventure activities in various parts of this vast nation. Including river rafting in the mighty Ganges or a tour to a Jim Corbett national park or to gigantic Himalayas!

The team believes that travel isn’t a privilege but basic human right of all people regardless of they being differently abled or not. They say “They want to provide an inclusive tourism platform where people with different disabilities and without medically proven disabilities travel together, breaking all barriers and social inhibitions,”

This thought process of theirs not only creates opportunities for inclusive travel for the differently abled but also sensitizes the society with the challenges the differently abled face in their daily life.

Food for thought shouldn’t all of us play a small role in creating an inclusive India?

Ashwin Karthik is the first BE graduate with cerebral palsy quadreplegia, in India. Ashwin is the National Award winner which the GOI gives to felicitate persons with disabilities. An avid writer, Ashwin is an inspiration to many, including to his idol Sachin Tendulkar! He tweets at @AK1RULES 

Kid touching a wall

Memory Which Will Remain With Me All My Life – Pranav Lal

They say travel changes people but has travel changed me? Each step brings fresh perceptions thereby creating new neural connections. This is a subconscious process and I cannot measure the change. Though, I am sure every place I visit, becomes a memory which will remain with me all my life, it hardly matters that I am blind!

I travel because it offers me change; a new reality to explore. I love traveling! One of the places I most enjoyed visiting was Iceland. I absolutely fell in love with the country- Unbeatable geology, super clean air and very friendly people.  This was my first solo (sans family) holiday. And, there are much more I plan to take.

My travel bucket list includes Leh-Ladakh, the North East of India, The United States of America, Austria and  Germany. However, a place I really want to go and experience is a live volcano. I want to descend to the lava lake. I want to experience the heat and the magma!


A blind photographer

If I had to choose between traveling solo or in groups, I would prefer traveling with a group because there’s a certain excitement in meeting new people and participating in new sights, smells and sounds. However, much depends on why I travel. For instance, if I travel to see technology, I would prefer to be alone.

I do face several challenges while traveling because I am blind and have a partly formed left palm. When traveling internationally, one of the biggest challenges is dealing with paper currency. The next challenge is language. I need people with good language skills to convey what I need. This is because I am not adept at sign language and cannot point to things without a lot of advanced preparation. Challenges of navigating in unfamiliar surroundings, inaccessible signboards and a lack of accessible infrastructure remain.  

Organization and planning are very important when it comes to traveling.  I try to organize things to not face these problems, but it does get messy. Some of these issues can be mitigated when traveling with a group because my fellow travelers help.  

The only travel advice I have for people with disabilities? Don’t let stereotypes affect you. Just go out and do it. Because there’s nothing like travel in the world.

Pranav Lal is a desk bound technology enthusiast and cyber security professional who is answering the call of the wild one trip at a time. He tweets at @pranavlal

Payal Kapoor wearing a hat made of leaves on her holiday

Boarding the travel wagon once again… – Payal Kapoor

I have always associated travel with seeing and observing things; never imagining it could be anything more than a visual experience…until I realized it was more, much more!

At 22, struck by a cerebral attack that damaged most of my sensory system, I was left totally blind and partially hearing impaired. Traveling was the last thought on my mind and never did I think I would step out of my house again.

But then, someone wise has said “never say never”, isn’t it? Moving from a time after my disability where I was afraid to sit on a bike, to taking many joyous road trips on one, my life has come full circle in more ways than one!

I have always loved the outdoors, the green of the trees and grass, long drives enjoying the wind whipping through my hair and the sense of freedom. As a blind person though, these took on a whole new meaning!

The green was associated with a smell of freshly walked upon grass, the leaves freshly washed with rain or dew and a song sung by the wind in my ears. The effect was no less mesmerizing.

Through the years I have enjoyed many a road trip around my city Hyderabad in South India. Many places I visited after going blind were until then only names I had heard despite living here. Soon I was travelling distances of 90 kms to 350 kms in the span of four years. All road trips, the journey varied from being in a car or on a bike.

I still remember the first such trip I took to visit a friend in Tandur, a town about 110 kms away and the nervousness about packing my own things. Since it was on a bike, I had to ensure I packed light but also had everything I needed. Always one to carry things without having to ask someone else, this was a daunting task. My partner kept peeking over my shoulder as I packed to ensure I didn’t take one thing extra. I rolled my eyes and assured him I was being good. But often, I’d sneak that one little thing I thought I just couldn’t do without. Something I’d now tell nobody to do since that bag sat on my shoulders and after a while I wished it weren’t as heavy!

Setting off on the trip with the weather warm indoors, I was surprised to experience how cold it got when we entered a belt of green trees. It almost felt like I had transported somewhere else, making me wish I had something warmer. The freshness of the early morning air was beautiful; still unsullied by smoke emissions from other vehicles and untouched by the sound of blaring horns. The tranquility was enhanced by the sound of thousands of birds chirruping as they left for their day’s work. We passed smaller villages, a forest belt and long open roads. Imagine the pleasure of stopping to allow a bunch of animals crossing the road or breaking to watch a deer skip across. The sight of bounding rabbits and the occasional wild boar, peacocks and flying fox…  all in one journey!

Always a foodie and game to experiment anything off the roadside, we had our favourite pit stop at a tea-stall that served piping hot tea in little glasses with bread omelet for breakfast (a typical way of serving this at such roadside stalls), and various fried “bajjias and bondas” during evenings. During summer months, this route had one of the most fantastic market selling various local varieties of mangoes that grew around there. Imagine carrying bags full of those delights along with our own bags on a bike and not complaining at all? Well, the tantalizing smell of mangoes can do that to you, you know!

Walking in the forests of areas around us was a new experience for me. A city-girl born and bred, the thought of putting my foot somewhere I couldn’t see was not an assuring thought at first. Little did I realize, the right partner, one who was a confident guide with a firm and sure step was enough to forget all trepidation and enjoy the thrill of the unknown. The right kind of footwear with a good application of bug repellent smeared all over (in case of going into a wet and rainy area) is all one needs. I was amazed at how much my residual senses absorbed with my sight missing. I heard the sound of birds, (calls I learned to identify soon enough), the buzzing of crickets, the cacophony of birds and other animals in the wake of a predator prowling the forest and mating calls of various creatures left me breathless and excited! Where had the fear gone? I soon realized the harmony lay in blending in and not disturbing the peace of the natural environment and the creatures there.

From river beds to rocky terrain to being in close quarters with a lazy snake basking in the sun after shedding skin, I have made memories to last a lifetime.

Stepping into rivers was scary since the bed beneath seemed like it was shifting all the time. Again, a sure footed partner and a careful step behind him gave me the courage to do even that. I can still hear the sound of a gushing waterfall in more than one dam site. The spray of the water on the wind is inexplicable. Being a tactile person by nature, my curiosity had me picking many little mementoes from the forest floor and river beds. From smooth pebbles to bark of trees turned into driftwood to enjoying the crunch of Tuar dal beans left to dry in this manner to sharing FaceTime with a field full of sunflowers; each experience was a breath of fresh air; a new lease of life!

Learning about the local history and engaging with the tribes in various areas cannot be easily forgotten. From the low doors in a Lambada home to mud caked homes of the Koyas, an insight into their lives only whet my appetite to go back more than once. Eating the food cooked by them and listening to their stories gave me a whole new respect for their simple indigenous ways of life.

I saw a long standing dream come true when I embarked on a bike ride to Nagarjuna Sagar Dam, (about 130 Kms away) on the bike in driving rain! The exhilaration of feeling the rain on my face and getting soaked in it seemed like a benediction! Singing loudly, celebrating life’s every shade, I have never been happier! No, I wasn’t prepared for it to rain so was not protected against the elements, and chose to stay that way. A word of warning though… ensure the change of clothes are packed to remain dry, since the aftermath of getting out of and into a fresh set of wet clothes is not exciting at all! But, even that didn’t dampen my spirit.

For an avid traveller who is also Blind, I have always had supportive people around me who haven’t hesitated to hold my hand and walk along with me. A little orientation in how I needed to be held and helped, I had all the support I needed. Whether it was a halt on the roadside to attend to a call of nature or orientating to a new room and bathroom, I guided them how and they followed, making my trips easy and memorable and my travel accessible!

Disability, I believe,  whether locomotor, visual, hearing,  developmental or related to mental health, while being a hindrance, is certainly not a deterrent in the quest to travel. I have gone on and gathered my bag full of memories, coming a long way from those days of wondering if I could travel without seeing, to looking forward to every experience life has to offer, and loving every bit of it!

A hotelier by education and profession, Payal loves life in all its varying shades. Along with working with a group of hotels, she makes time for friends, experiments in the kitchen, and travels whenever possible. Writing gives expression to her deepest thoughts and reading copiously feeds her imagination with visions of happy endings!

Oslo snow

Traveling with disability gives me the utmost feeling of breaking barriers – By Mrunmaiy Abroal

I have been an avid traveler all my life. As kids, our summer and Diwali holidays would always involve getting out of the city. In those days, a road trip would take precedence over traveling in a train. Traveling by air was not on our radar.

I carried on with my interest in traveling and driving as I grew up and started living independently in Mumbai. All weekends were meant for exploring the city or driving out of the city. A combination of public holidays meant planning a longer trip with family and friends. I was also lucky enough to work in an industry that involved a lot of traveling. I always combined fun and exploring whenever I traveled for work.

The immediate feeling after I got my spinal cord injury in June 2011 was as if my wings have been cut off. Forget travel, I could not even move from one corner on the bed to another by myself. I am a quadriplegic; paralyzed below shoulders and unable to use fingers. I felt like bidding goodbye to the days when I could just head off at the flick of a finger.

You can understand more about my cervical spinal-cord injury by reading here.

After the injury, I have to think of multiple factors before traveling:

When getting out of the home, the car should have enough space for the wheelchair as well. Wheelchair-accessible taxis are available in few cities only. So I will have to be lifted and placed inside a regular car. The person lifting should be strong enough.

Prepare to minimize bladder and bowel accidents. If on CIC, reduce the amount of water that I drink. Wear an adult diaper, just in case things go out of control.

Is the place I am going to accessible in a wheelchair? Do they have ramps and lifts or will my wheelchair be lifted over a flight of stairs? Is the pathway smooth or uneven? A little information about these factors will help in deciding whether to take my motorized wheelchair or my manual one. The motorized chair is easier for me to maneuver, but it is heavy and difficult to lift over multiple steps.

Sometimes basic stuff can create difficulties. For example, if the height of the bed in the hotel is very low or very high, then shifting from bed to the wheelchair gets tough. It’s even worse if the bed has a spring mattress where you sink in. The width of the bathroom door in most homes in India is narrow as compared to regular doors. So the shower wheelchair that one carries when traveling to visit relatives should be of a lesser width.

Once when traveling abroad, the airline misplaced my wheelchair’s battery bag. Airlines have rules where the battery cannot be plugged into the wheelchair when on-board/ in cargo. So we always pack it in a separate bag. Another time they misplaced my entire motorized chair. Apparently, it got shipped off to another destination and I received it only after a day. I had to make do with using the airport wheelchair that day.

There are many things that we can prepare for. And there are many more things which will be beyond our control.

Traveling with a disability is about being able to go through all the above and still coming out smiling, hugging all the memories of things that did not go wrong and were pleasurable beyond expectations.

In New Delhi, I enjoyed getting up close to brilliant Mughal architecture at the Kutub Minar. The complex has been declared as a UNESCO world heritage site and making it accessible was a prerequisite.

In Mumbai, I propelled my wheelchair along the diamond necklace aka Marine drive, matching steps with joggers and fitness enthusiasts early-morning.

Boat ride Pichola

In Udaipur, I’ve taken a boat ride and enjoyed the thrill of going up and down in a ropeway over a dense forest. So what if my wheelchair had to be lifted and placed inside the boat and the cable-car respectively. Thorough ground research and arrangements by Planet Abled made this possible for me.

In Oslo, I have driven my wheelchair through snowfall and snow-filled sidewalks. I learned that in cold weather the battery gets exhausted quickly, so remember to charge it overnight everyday.

Accessible public transport in Barcelona1

In Barcelona, I enjoyed traveling in buses and trams, just like my fellow travelers without disabilities. The public transport was equipped with ramps and sensible drivers. The city also gave me my first experience of an accessible beach.

In Colombo, I was able to go right up to the seashore despite the beach not having an accessible pathway. Not a good experience for the hotel wheelchair that got soaked in sand, but it was a wonderful experience for me to feel the sea breeze on my face.

In Mahur, much to the delight of my mother, I was able to take darshan of our family goddess whose temple is situated on top of a hill and the only approach is 120 steps. Thanks to the professional doli’s who carry devotees with mobility difficulties up to the temple.

In Ahmedabad, I was able to relive my childhood by sitting in the toy train at Kankaria Lake. They had one carriage with a folding ramp that could accommodate a wheelchair.

In Pune, I chanced upon the possibility that even a quadriplegic can do scuba diving. I found out about this over a casual conversation with Divyanshu Ganatra with whom I got in touch only because I was traveling to the city. So what if I practiced in the swimming pool instead of an open sea.

Accessible toy train at Kankaria Lake Ahmedabad

As many of you must have experienced, most places in India are inaccessible. But you can still make the most of it by door darshan 😉

Charminar in Hyderabad is located in the middle of a crowded junction in the old city. The best way to get a closer look was to drive around it. Ditto with the longest beach in India, the Marina beach in Chennai.

Chandni Chowk in old Delhi is also not a friendly destination for wheelchair users. But I did manage to relish the famous Parathas from Parathe Wali Galli in the comfort of my car.

In India, it’s not just the places, even the mode of transport is a barrier. I would have never reached anywhere if I would have waited for an accessible vehicle.

I have enjoyed moving around despite the various physical and mental barriers. Believe it or not, in most situations it is ‘your will’ that can hold you back or let you fly. Forget about being a burden on others or feeling hesitant to demand accessibility or the trouble others will have to go through for taking you to inaccessible places. If it is family and friends, they will go to all lengths joyfully to have your company. If it is movie theaters, restaurants or even the typical tourist destinations, earning your business will only make their pockets smile. I am not so confident about trains and bus services, but airlines do give a preferential treatment to the disabled.

Reality check says that accessibility cannot become a norm and be implemented overnight. That is why do not hold back if your heart aches to venture out. Start with getting out on the street or a park near your home. Be seen. Let the non-disabled people notice that we are also among them and we too like to travel and go places.

Traveling with a disability teaches you to be open to change in plans, be aware that whatever can go wrong could actually go wrong and not get disheartened if external expectations are not met. And more than anything, because of all these experiences you will learn to make the most delicious lemonade of all the lemons life throws your way. Yummy!!!

Give me a shout out and let’s say Cheers the next time you make one.

Happy travels!

Mrunmaiy Abroal is a communications professional and a technology and travel enthusiast. Living with spinal cord injury since 2011, she has not let disability curb her enthusiasm for embarking on new voyages. She believes that things may seem impossible in the beginning, but one has to just keep trying. She also blogs at https://mrunmaiy.com .

Sai Kaustuv

Accessible Travel: A Tool to Discover True Passion – by Sai Kaustuv Dasgupta

Hello friends, Sai Kaustuv Dasgupta here. I will be sharing with you what Travelling means to me and some experiences of my accessible travels. Travelling outside is a part of our life as it gives us joy, happiness and a fresh essence of life which is very essential. It also helps us to find our passion by meeting with various cultures and people from different backgrounds. But do you think travelling for a differently able person like me is so easy? That’s a million dollar question. But before going further I would like to say a bit about me.

Kaustuv's Travel

Kaustuv’s Travel

I’m basically from North Bengal but staying in Andhra Pradesh for 14 years. I am a Graphic Designer, Singer, Composer and a Motivational Speaker. I am a 80% disable guy. I am suffering from a rare disease called Osteogenesis Imperfecta from my childhood which is also called as ‘Brittle Bone Disease’. I have already suffered more than 50 fractures till date. At present all my joints are fully fixed and I cannot walk. I use an Electric Wheelchair to move around my home and outside. Life taught me how to smile after being confined into a room for 6 years (2009 – 2015)! Could you believe how I used to feel when I could not see nature, sun, moon and all the beautiful creations? Naturally I was in depression. But slowly I started realising that, time has come to seek and find the joy within. So when I observed how my life got confined into a wheelchair, and within four walls, I started developing a desire to change the situation totally. I made myself a Wheelchair Warrior who can defeat any problems and obstacles through the weapon of will power and self confidence.

So after a long gap of 6 years, when I first went out under sky, it was an overwhelming moment for me. I was in tears to see a completely new world around me. It was like a dream come true. And I that day proved the power of positivity. As it was kind of impossible term for me to go outside. But I came out to re-discover my life once again and to understand the value of travelling.

Sai Kaustuv Dasgupta

Sai Kaustuv

So my first day out was extremely interesting. It was just like “Baby’s Day Out” movie. I was feeling like a bird flying around with complete freedom enjoying every bit of this entire beautiful creation. Traveling by wheelchair does not have to be as difficult as we think. The secret is – Plan Way Ahead! Millions of persons with disabilities across the globe have great difficulties in finding accommodation that is accessible for them. However, accessible can mean different things to different people, so I wouldn’t recommend booking a hotel online just because it says that it’s accessible. You need to gather detailed and dependable access related information so that you can quickly and easily find places that meet your access needs or preferences. That’s why I always prefer to get ideas from the person directly who has already experienced it.

My first accessible visit started with visiting nearby places to get accustomed with travelling. Then I visited Nandi Hills in Karnataka, Bangalore and Whitefield. It was a great start with my family who has sacrificed their joy for my sake because they never used to plan any outing as I was not able to go out. So my first accessible trip was good in 2015. Gradually I started exploring more and more. The main thing was, every time I go out, I had to hire a special wheelchair accessible car which has ramp behind. So my motorised wheelchair can get into it easily. I can’t travel in ordinary cars as I can’t sit or enter into them. Travelling in train of course does not come into my options as Railways are not at all wheelchair friendly. So I can travel either by car or by air. By air too I am having some difficulties as they would not allow to sit in my own wheelchair and travel. I need to shift in their wheelchair and then to the flight seat. That is quite challenging for my condition in the physical level. But I’m hoping to sort it out and will need to get some solutions soon as how much could I travel by car and that’s not the safest mode for differently abled too.



I always feel we should always have concern about our health. So I plan everything by keeping in my mind that travelling should always become accessible and we need to make wise decisions to choose our accessible destinations properly.

LIFE is very precious for me. It is something worth to cherish. Giving value to our life is a practice and giving importance to all the aspects of life is equally important. We undergo all these difficulties in our daily life not because God is cruel and likes our sufferings, but fire is a purifier. Through so many tragic incidents, I’ve realised the beauty of pain as it comes with a surprise of joy in the next moment. It is a lesson, life has given to me that we have to improve ourselves as an individual and as a true human being and realise the purpose of our life. I went to Goa and recently visited Chennai too. Both were highly accessible and comfortable. The roads were quite good but it took so much time because I travelled by accessible car.

During my first long journey which was to Goa, I observed that the big hotels and restaurants are not having any facilities for us. It’s may be having all kind foods and other things but what can we enjoy if its not having a simple ramp to enter? So I think when people talk about accessible travelling, the first point is awareness. We should spread the awareness of accessibility when it comes in the terms of travelling. It does not cost much money to make a place accessible but the awareness should be there in people’s mind. Specially the public places should be accessible as then people like us can enjoy an independent life.

Goa was awesome and had great time there with all people and was fortunate to have a grand meeting with Commissioner for Person with Disabilities, Goa, Mrs Anuradha Joshi. I was the first differently abled person to enter Goa by accessible car. So that made them so happy and I gave some ideas to make Goa fully an Accessible Tourist place.

Sai Kaustav Dasgupta

Sai Kaustav Dasgupta

The main ambition of my life is to simply make people happy through my work and ideas. In other sense I would like to bring back the purity of heart and genuine happiness which people lost in today’s course of life. They forgot how to smile selflessly. So I want to do such works which will help people to regain their true nature and smile wholeheartedly. All people ask me, how it is possible to smile after so much sufferings? I tell them, my biggest strength is my smile. I always love to smile in every situation as I believe smile is the signature line of our purity. And through so many adverse situations of my life, I have learnt to smile as it helps me overcome adverse situations and gives me immense satisfaction of winning over it. Recently, when I was going to Chennai to receive Cavinkare Ability Mastery Award 2017, I got a muscle pull in my legs because of uneven road jerking. It was paining profusely but I thought my goal is to reach Chennai and attend the Prize Distribution Ceremony. So I made up my mind and continued my journey.

Sai Kaustuv

Sai Kaustuv

So that’s how I find my passion while travelling. As for us its not a easy deal but if we are determined and confident about our power, no one can stop us from reaching our desired destination. I would really love to work on Accessible Travelling so the problems I faced during my trips can be avoided in future. We should conduct more awareness programme and educate people to come forward. We need more support and strength to spread the light of hope to all those people who has confined themselves with a barrier of belief that they cant travel. We need to make them realize that if I can travel after going through so many difficulties, they too can. Lastly I would like to say that, please have faith that you too could fly high on the wings of self confidence and courage. Have strong determination and have clear idea about your accessible destination. Life is too short to celebrate it completely. So celebrate every moment of it. Know that you are worthy of reaching your dream destinations. So be positive, be inspirational and no matter who you are, what you are, how much capable or incapable you think you are. Just get ready, throw your pains and accept the pleasure around you.


“Sai Kaustuv is a Freelance Graphic Designer, Singer, Composer and a Motivational Speaker. His main ambition of life is to simply make people happy through his work and ideas.”


Miss Wheelchair

Miss Wheechair India 2015 experience and my dream destination Paris – by Sneha Khaitan

I want to share my travel story about my Bangalore trip. The purpose of going to Bangalore was to participate in a beauty pageant “Miss Wheelchair India 2015” which was held there and I was one of the finalist of that event.

When I got selected and I came to know that I will have to go to Bangalore, I was more nervous about my travel than the event itself. I am suffering from “Muscular Dystrophy” Which lacks body balance and my travel was completely depended on others. The thought of travelling miles away scared the hell out me.

I had never travelled that much distance in my life so far. I live in a very small village of Bihar (Pirpainti, Bhagalpur) and it’s really tough to go to anywhere from here. The major problem is train and there is no airport here within 500 kms.

To catch my flight for Bangalore I had to go to Kolkata airport and from Bhagalpur to Kolkata, I had to travel by train. I felt that trains are pain in India. My Wheelchair could not go through narrow compartments. And 2 male Assistants held me up and took me to my seat. The worst thing was people staring at me. Anyway the experience was not that bad. Airport was quite disabled friendly and I did not faced much problem there except the narrow space between seats. I had faced a little bit trouble while transferring from wheelchair to my seat due to narrow space.

Once I reached Bangalore I did not face much trouble. The whole city was quite accessible including my hotel. I enjoyed a lot. And this is one of the best experiences of my life. I felt fresh and alive. I would love to travel to Bangalore again and many more places of India and abroad. My dream place is Paris and I surely want to travel there at least once in my life.

Even though my journey was not so smooth but it gave me a lot of happiness and a life time experience. Now I would say no one should let their disability and fear come in between their travelling dreams. Keep travelling & keep exploring.

Sneha Khaitan is a Graphic Designer by profession. She is a also a dreamer and believes that one can fulfill all their dreams with their determination.